World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are two sides of the same coin. All the combat sports require years of practice and perfection. The rules are pretty straightforward. In both cases, one has to outfox the rival.
However, MMA fighters have to do it within the given time duration. Running against a clock makes the battle more technical and grueling. On the other hand, WWE gives wrestlers the gift of time to strategize and execute.
Combat sports are bound to be brutal. MMA has different weight divisions where competitors are of similar size and physique. WWE has no such restrictions. A clearly superior Big Show can still face Dolph Ziggler or Sami Zayn.
Unlike MMA, WWE matches do not take place inside a steel cage with no escape (except for rare steel cage matches and PPVs like Elimination Chamber). UFC battles are always fought in a steel cage and thus the fighters need to have both guile and guts to survive.
It is evident that pro-wrestling and mixed martial arts are not the same ball game. The competitors have to undergo a rigorous body and combat style transformation. Along with that, adapting to the glamour of WWE or to the fiendish bloodshed of MMA can be highly taxing.
Trade between WWE and MMA is not new. Scott ‘Bam Bam’ Bigelow was a known face in WWE in 1990s when he tried to enter the world of MMA but returned to WWE after just one bout.
There have been players who have dominated and conquered both worlds. But most of the WWE-MMA switches have been ill planned and in most cases, the result is that the competitor switches back to his previous domain.
Daniel Puder started his MMA career in 2003, and joined WWE in 2004. His WWE career was uninspiring and his contract was soon revoked. He returned to MMA and had a highly accomplished career where he was undefeated after 8 bouts.
Many WWE regulars have tried their hand in the octagon but with little success. Batista went to MMA in 2012 but returned back to WWE after one battle only.
Some Famous Switches
The first name that comes in mind when talking of success stories in WWE and MMA both is of Brock ‘The Beast’ Lesnar. The current WWE Universal Champion started his first stint at WWE back in early 2000s. He then left it to join the UFC where he did extremely well. He became the UFC Heavyweight Champion by defeating Randy Couture and went on to retain it thrice.
After losing his belt to Alistair Overeem, Lesnar announced his retirement from UFC to return to WWE, and decimated anyone and everyone coming in his way.
He is a highly recognizable face in both WWE and MMA. Bobby is a two time ECW Champion and one time WWE United States Champion. He also has a highly successful stint in TNA.
But it is his MMA streak that it the most impressive. Bobby has an unbelievable 15-2-0 record in the MMA fights. He has had some memorable victories inside the octagon and currently holds a 5-0 streak in the Bellator.
Nakamura is a Japanese former MMA star who is touted to be a huge star in WWE. He has already been involved in spicy storylines and is believed to be the leading faces of Smackdown brand in the near future. But apart from that, he also boasts a fine MMA record of 3-1-0.
CM Punk is a very recognizable name in the WWE Universe. The two time WWE Champion and three time World Heavyweight Champion took retirement from the business in 2014.
He went on to take up Jiu-Jitsu, earning a blue belt in the process. He joined UFC where he had a baptism with fire against Mickey Gall losing through submission.